Did you know that timber has been used as a building material for decades? The chemical properties of wood are inherently complex. Even in spite of this challenge, we have successfully harnessed the characteristics of wood to build a seemingly unlimited variety of structures. Construction timber is commonly used to build houses, shelters, and boats. It is also used in the furniture and home decor industry as well.
One of the biggest advantages of using wood as a building material is that it is a natural resource. This makes it readily available and economically feasible. Construction timber is remarkably strong in relation to its weight. It provides very good insulation against cold weather. Timber is highly machine-able and can be fabricated into all kinds of shapes and sizes. Due to this, it fits practically any construction need that you may have.
Timber is also one of the most perfect examples of an environmentally sustainable product. Why is it an example you may ask? Because it is biodegradable and renewable. Timber also carries the lowest carbon footprint of any comparable building material. So in addition, no high-energy fossil fuels are required to produce timber (unlike other common building materials like bricks, steel or plastic).
What types of timber are used for construction?
Over the years timber has been divided into two primary categories, namely Hardwood (any leaf-bearing tree) and Softwood (any cone-earing tree). This can get quite confusing at times. There are some leaf-bearing trees that can have relatively softwood. But generally speaking, hardwoods are largely considered to be heavier and denser than softwoods. Hardwoods are commonly used in the construction of walls, ceilings, and floors. Softwoods are more used in the construction of making doors, furniture and window frames.
Examples of popular hardwoods are:
Examples of softwoods that are commonly used are:
What are the benefits of using timber in construction?
Timber carries a lot of benefits that make it an excellent product to use in a wide variety of construction projects. One of these benefits is the thermal properties of the timber. This gives it a great advantage of resisting high temperatures. Unlike steel (which can expand or even collapse in high heat temperatures), timber actually dries out and becomes stronger as the heat increases.
The heat conductivity of wood is relatively low in comparison to other materials. Due to this fact, it gives timber the advantage of being used in various applications like matches, hardware equipment handles, wall coverings and ceilings.
Why is it a sustainable construction material?
Timber has been known to be a versatile raw material and is the only renewable construction material. Timber structures are usually characterized by a combination of different components. Putting it together, it will deliver the best possible load-bearing capacity, thermal, moisture insulation, fire resistance, and long service life.
When you increase the proportion of timber in construction, it can facilitate a reduction in the use of other construction materials, like concrete, steel, and bricks. These construction materials do not come from renewable raw materials. They require a great deal of energy for their production and they entail higher emissions of carbon dioxide.
Can it replace other construction materials?
Yes, it can replace other construction materials in many structures while it provides the same functionality. One example is that wooden bridges can be designed for the same function as steel and concrete bridges. Such a material substitution could bring significant climate benefits.
Timber replaces materials whose production requires fossil fuels and causes high carbon emissions. Studies have shown that where timber products replace other construction materials in buildings, there is an estimated average substitution factor of 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide per cubic meter of timber materials.
10 Reasons why timber is the best construction material:
Timber is one of the few natural building materials that has a lot of advantages. Timber is non-toxic. It does not leak chemical vapors into the building, and it is safe to handle and touch. This also means that as timber ages, it does so naturally.
Ecology and sustainable
People have been building with timber for a very long time. It is an ecological, sustainable and truly renewable building material. Timber is grown quicker than it is used. Most of the main timber supplying countries have a long-standing policy to re-grow more timber than is felled. Timber is milled all over the world and is often used close to where it is produced. This helps to promote local economies and reduces the energy that is needed to transport the materials over long distances.
Low in production energy
It takes very little energy to convert the wood in trees to the timber that is used in construction. This means that the embodied energy in the timber is low. A Fact: energy is the lowest of all common building materials.
A store for carbon
Timber is made from carbon that is drawn from the atmosphere. This carbon would otherwise be adding to the greenhouse effect. Using timber in buildings stores the carbon for as long as the building stands or the timber is used.
It offers great insulation.
Timber is a natural insulator and can help to reduce energy needs when it is used in windows, doors, and floors. A timber frame allows more space for insulation than a brick building. Wood itself also has naturally thermally insulating properties. Of course, a better-insulated home requires less energy to heat and cool, which typically means less fossil fuel use. Timber also has better insulating properties than steel. Timber’s structure contains minute air pockets. This limits the ability to conduct heat and helps to minimize the energy that is needed for heating and cooling the eco timber houses.
Energy-efficient timber houses
Timber helps to minimize energy consumption in several ways. The life cycle of a product study has shown that timber-framed houses significantly outperforms steel and concrete.
Easy to work
Timber is versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways. With the timber being light, it is easy to install and can be worked with simple equipment. This reduces the energy that is needed for construction. Different species of trees produce timber of different colors, textures, and functional qualities.
No limits on design and size
Considering the relationship between using the materials and the environment is very important when building a home. When you use timber as the main building material, you then have made the right choice. It has endless design possibilities, as well as unrivaled physical and technical properties for a timber frame home.
Quick build time
Building with timber is much quicker. A timber frame can be partly pre-cut, modulated, and built to precision. This causes building time to be much more quickly than building with bricks. Time is also saved since there is less building debris that has to be cleaned up.
Durable and easy to maintain
Timber is a highly durable material. Some well-made wooden structures will last for centuries. Timber is also easy and cheap to maintain compared to other materials, especially if you do not mind the timber changing color over time.